A pulmonologist is a medical practitioner that deals with anything related to one’s respiratory system. They’re usually the ones you consult when you experience shortness of breath and chest pains or if you’re dealing with lung issues. But since every individual has different needs, finding the right program and the best provider can be pretty challenging, especially if you’re dealing with a relatively serious respiratory problem.
With that said, here are seven of the most important considerations when choosing a pulmonologist:
One of the most important factors to consider is the credentials of the pulmonologist. It shows you whether the doctor has gone through the necessary training to practice pulmonology. You can also make a rough estimate of their skills by looking into their credentials. It’s also worth confirming if that particular pulmonologist has no record of malpractice, just to be on the safe side. A pulmonologist’s credentials should be accessible through the website of the hospital they’re working in. You can also go to the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) and request the credentials of the pulmonologist in question.
Everyone knows that professionals with more experience can handle things under pressure better than those who are only starting their careers, and this applies especially to medical practitioners since they often deal with complex health issues. If you’re lucky, your pulmonologist might be quite experienced in handling your case. Thus, if you already know what you’re suffering from, you can test a pulmonologist by asking them how many cases they’ve dealt with that are similar to yours and how many were treated successfully.
While it’s true that you must focus on the pulmonologist, it’s also worth looking into the hospital they’re working in. Check if the hospital provides quality care if its location is suitable for you, and whether they have the necessary equipment to deal with complex respiratory problems. After all, hospitals that are generally rated higher than most experience fewer complications and boast a higher survival rate, so it’s clear that the hospital does make a difference. It should be pretty easy investigating a hospital since you can look them up through their official website.
Much like how you look at reviews before buying a product, you should also consider the reviews of patients that’s been in the care of the pulmonologist. Naturally, a pulmonologist with more positive reviews is more suitable than those with fewer. Moreover, if there are numerous reviews, it’s proof that they’ve been in this line of work for quite some time. Reviews can also tell a lot about the experience you’ll have when it comes to scheduling appointments, staff friendliness, wait times, and more.
If you’re the type to visit the doctor frequently, you’re probably aware there are times when you’ll receive a medical bill unexpectedly. This usually happens when your health insurance doesn’t cover the service you received. Thus, if you’re a bit tight on budget, consider looking for a pulmonologist that participates in the same insurance plan you have. Your health insurance provider should have a database that lists all their covered doctors. If you don’t find the pulmonologist there, chances are, you’ll receive a relatively high medical bill.
No matter how good the pulmonologist is, it’s not going to make a difference if you can’t talk or interact with them very well. You must also consider the chemistry between the two of you since you’re most likely going to speak to them a lot. On that note, if you already have a list of potential pulmonologists, try scheduling an appointment with each of them and see how well it goes. Can you talk about your health problems properly with them? Do they listen very well? Are they great at explaining things clearly? These are a few questions you must ask to determine whether they’re a good fit for you or not.
You’re probably wondering why there’s in the gender in this list, but it’s pretty simple. Since you’ll disclose a lot of information to the pulmonologist, some might even be a private matter; there will be times when you’ll feel a bit uncomfortable talking to them, even more so if they’re of the opposite gender. As such, it’s a good idea to narrow down your list to those of the same gender as you are. This may also affect how well you interact with them.
Request For Referrals
If you’re not entirely confident that you’d choose the right pulmonologist, one alternative is to ask someone you know for referrals. For starters, try asking your primary care doctor for recommendations. Chances are, they met at least one pulmonologist throughout their career. There’s also a chance you know someone that already sees a pulmonologist, so it’s worth asking your family and friends as well. Either way, this can help significantly in your goal of looking for a pulmonologist as it improves your chances of finding a reliable pulmonologist.